We speculate that unlike the consciousness raising on gun control following the Newtown Massacre, which petered out along partisan lines since the National Rifle Association owns most of the U.S. Congress, this singular event in Ferguson will succeed in merging the message with the messenger at just the right moment. It has brought about a laser-focus on the rotten mass of shameful, bankrupt, coercive, and inhumane systems, forcing elected officials, conservative and liberal alike, to say, wait a damn minute.
“The eyes of the nation and the world are watching Ferguson right now. The world is watching because the issues raised by the shooting of Michael Brown predate this incident. This is something that has a history to it and the history simmers beneath the surface in more communities than just Ferguson.” — Attorney General Eric Holder
Politicians can ignore these issues now, at their peril, but we will continue to pose the epic questions:
How will we end this country’s war on brown and black men, especially young men?
How will we demilitarize our police forces?
How will interfere with the scourge of mass incarceration?
How will we end our outsourcing to for-profit prison industry and the for-profit probation system?
We have to keep reminding ourselves that ALL of this is connected to greed and the money (including your tax dollars) that elites accumulate from the pain of others. The War on Drugs later upstepped by the War on Terror placed immense pressure for more arrests. Brown and black men have been the primary targets and the easiest targets. We pay for your senators, congressmen, and prosecutors to entertain for-profit prison industry lobbyists pushing for longer and stiffer sentences to increase their corporate bottom line. We penalize debtors further by putting them into for-profit probation programs at once increasing the original debt on a weekly basis and the likelihood of jail time for things like an overdue water bill.
More Americans have become aware that their hard earned tax dollars finance the military-style firepower we’ve seen on display in Ferguson. Add to that the local police’s sad rendition of how trained military personnel actually behave with these arms and equipment that has put all public safety at risk.
People united have all the power to stop all of this.
[Regarding a similar shooting in 1943 . . . ] The shooting, the funeral and the riot, taking place so close together, led Baldwin to realize that we must always hold in our minds two opposite ideas. The first is that “injustice is commonplace” in our world. But the second is that we cannot be complacent. We “must never … accept these injustices as commonplace but must fight them with all [our] strength. This fight begins … in the heart.” (via Laila Lalami’s ‘This Fight Begins In The Heart’: Reading James Baldwin As Ferguson Seethes)
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